Jan 31, 2016

Be like Bill for grammar (and vocabulary) practice

The third person singular of the Present Simple tense is known to be particularly problematic for learners and when the "Be Like Bill" meme took social media by storm last week, I thought that it presents a wonderful opportunity to practise the problematic structure.

Background

If you don't know Be Like Bill, it works something like this: you see in your feed an image one of your Facebook friends has posted which looks like this.

Jan 7, 2016

News quiz 2015 - Follow up

Activities for reviewing lexis from News Quiz 2015


Photo by Dustpuppy72 via Flickr 
[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Here's the promised follow up to the end-of-year news quiz: five pages of lexis-focused activities aimed at reviewing and consolidating language from the quiz. If you haven't seen the news quiz, click HERE.


You can preview the activities below or download them in Word format and edit/adapt them as you wish. The key (answers) follows below.

Update: Vocabulary from the quiz on Quizlet: https://quizlet.com/_1x0vbs

Dec 29, 2015

News quiz 2015

Traditional end-of-year news quiz for the first lesson of the new year

The dress which went viral
To tell the truth, I almost broke the tradition this year when I decided not to publish my annual quiz. The year has been so depressing I simply couldn't think of the news items that wouldn't be about terror and murder. But, at the insistence of friends and colleagues, here's this year's edition of the lexically enriched news quiz, which I've tried to keep light on politics.

Nov 29, 2015

10 things you can do with "10 things you didn't know last week"

10 things you didn't know last week is a digest of news snippets published every Friday on the BBC website. You can find it in a section called Magazine Monitor. The items chosen for inclusion tend be offbeat and quirky news - very often to do with science. Each story is linked to its source - on the BBC website or elsewhere on the web.


Below are some ideas on how you can use 10 things you didn't know in class. You will see that all of them require no preparation on the part of the teacher.

Oct 17, 2015

Colligation and a bottom-up approach to grammar

Summary of Hugh Dellar's IATEFL webinar Following the patterns: colligation and the necessity of a bottom-up approach to grammar - September 2015


For most people, the Lexical Approach is about focusing more on vocabulary in general and collocations in particular. Personally, however, I have always thought that the crux of the Lexical Approach is a different approach to teaching grammar. Lewis himself acknowledges that the Lexical approach “means giving attention to a much wider range of patterns which surround individual words […] In this respect, it is a more ‘grammatical’ approach than the traditional structural syllabus“ (2000:149-150, author’s emphasis).

Oct 1, 2015

The return of translation: opportunities and pitfalls




For most of the 20th century, there was a deep-rooted tradition in the ELT, which dates back to the Direct Method, that L1 in the classroom should be avoided at all costs. Although there were some alternative methods, such as Community Language learning (aka ‘counsel-learning’) and Dodson’s Bilingual Method, which made use of the learners’ L1 and used translation, most ELT methods of the last century were clearly ‘target-language’ only and some even went as far as to take a clearly anti-L1 stance in order to avoid interference.

Aug 8, 2015

8 things I've learned about Special Education Needs this summer

Public Domain image
Last week I was involved in another Train the Trainer course (Summer School) organised by the British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Israel. The focus was Special Education Needs, and I had the privilege to work together with top expert in the field, Aharona Gvaryahu, MOE National Counselor for Students with Learning Difficulties, who was my co-trainer. While my role was sharing my knowledge and experience in designing and delivering teacher training workshops, my co-trainer as well as the participants of the course were a source of number of interesting insights into Special education, which I would like to share below:

May 26, 2015

Lexical activities united

This is a quick post that consolidates some activities for teaching collocations and chunks that I’ve posted on this blog and elsewhere, specifically the ones organized in series which I refer to as Cycles. 


I’ve demonstrated most of these at various conferences, most prominently at the IATEFL conference in Glasgow in 2012, but video recordings of the sessions have been taken down while the IATEFL Online website is being revamped. So I pulled all the activities together into one table for the convenience of the teachers and student teachers I work with as well as visitors to this blog.

I hope it makes it easy to navigate and find the activity that you’re after:

Apr 11, 2015

AAAL2015 convention: highlights, insights and implications


Rod Ellis presenting
While in Toronto for TESOL 2015 convention last month, I also attended - for the first time - the AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics) 2015 conference. The annual AAAL conference is conveniently held right before TESOL which gives ELT professionals travelling from all corners of the world an opportunity to attend both events back to back: the more classroom-oriented TESOL and its more highbrow cousin AAAL.

Here are some highlights:

Mar 22, 2015

A matter of semantics: same concepts, different divisions

Eighteen containers in assorted shapes and sizes on display in the corner of the room.

Fourteen EFL teachers organized in small groups according to their L1: English, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, French.

Aim: categorise the objects; discussion in the group should be held in your L1

Purpose: to show that the same objects will fall into different categories depending on the language you use to categorise them. 

Jan 4, 2015

News quiz 2014 - Follow up

Activities for reviewing language (vocabulary and some grammar) from News Quiz 2014

Image by DLR  via Wikimedia Commons
[CC BY 3.0 de]
As a follow-up to last week's news quiz, here are seven pages' worth of vocabulary practice and review activities (in 2 levels). Some follow "traditional" format from previous years, others are new, for example, the Intermediate level activities include Netspeak, a web tool I blogged about HERE.

I hope you and students enjoy them as much as you enjoyed the quiz. If you still haven't seen this quiz, click HERE:

Dec 28, 2014

News quiz 2014

Traditional lexically-enriched end-of-year news quiz for the first lesson of the new year
By Anthony Quintano via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]


In keeping with the tradition started when this blog was born (4 years ago today), here is my end-of-year news quiz.  As usual, it's available in two levels (advanced and intermediate) and comes complete with a 9-page teachers guide with ideas on how the quiz can be used in class. A word of reminder: the quiz is not meant to test your students' general knowledge but to expand their vocabulary.

Over the years I've begun to feel that every year my quiz contains the same language such as cause controversy, got into hot water, battle with drug addiction, came to an abrupt end to describe politicians' faux pas and celebrity deaths that occur with unwavering regularity every year. So this year, a slew of new lexical chunks make their debut in the quiz: quirky sense of humour, eligible bachelor and ruffle feathers to name but a fewSee for yourself.